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Sunday, April 29, 2018

Koch and DACA

I wrote this opinion piece before the court ruling that Trump's assertion the Obama DACA plan was unconstitutional was not substantiated in spite of three attempts by the White House to prove Trump's position.  DACA is still alive and more eligible kids can apply for protection.  Our immigration policy is still up in the air,  but Democrats should be aware that the Republicans would love to own the popular DACA issue if they can figure a way for Trump to get credit for it.

My opinion below still stands:

It is my opinion that there is no single entity that has more power over the Republican Party than the Koch Brothers political organization. Their powerful network has changed the election process in the United States.  They created and established The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) a conservative organization of state legislators and private sector representatives, who draft and share model state-level legislation for distribution among state governments in the United States that established the national Gerrymander of many states in 2011 12.

They created and funded the Tea Party (Freedom Caucus) that has a sizable presence in the Congress.  They funded a network of conservative "Think Tanks" at key points around the country to further their right-wing, libertarian ideas as serious academic research papers, and they funded economics departments in respected universities with strings attached that gave the Kochs control of the staffing and the curriculum. A threat from them would have moved those undecided Republicans. On top of the above structures, they were among the most dependable donors to Republican candidates. 

It’s obvious that they had the power to swing more than the necessary Republican votes in the House and Senate that, with the Democrats, pass an immigration bill that would become a model for the future of  immigrants like those who have led positive lives and raised such terrific young people.

So why are they running an expensive campaign now?  I believe they are using DACA to make it appear that it is only the Republicans who are serious about saving the DACA kids, but the Democrats let them down


Sunday, April 22, 2018

Comey's book

  The problem with writing an occasional piece is that in the interim there have been enumerable  scandalous things to write about. So for the moment I will write about James Comey.
        There has been an endless amount of discussion about his book.  I have seen several of his interviews.  My take is that he is a very bright, very thoughtful, very honest, very introspective person.  I have heard his justification for making the infamous Hillary disclosure just before the election.  After hearing his justification, I think he made a  dead wrong decision.  But I accept that he made an honest error in judgement.  
       For me the most important question asked of Comey is, "What do you want to be the takeaway from the book?"  His answer, "We need to bring good values back to our government.  
        Who ever thought that Democrats would be making values  an important issue.  The "Moral Majority" tried to own that issue.  Now they are slopping around in the sty of the most valueless president in the history of the United States.  By the way, I always resented the implication of the self righteous moral majority that liberals did not have values.  But that's for another discussion.
       Comey makes two major points regarding Chump's lack of values. First, is Chump's complete inability to tell the truth.  He lies about everything big and small.  Second, he has surrounded himself with corrupt people and runs the government like a criminal enterprise.
       Regarding lying, Chump supporters always trot out President Obama saying that if you like your insurance policy you can keep it.  He  was wrong.  I call it an honest mistake rather than a lie.  The difference between Obama and Chump, however, is that Obama admitted his mistake. he didn't own it.  He explained that third rate insurance policies would not qualify for Obamacare.  So those people who felt aggrieved because they needed to get different insurance, were actually getting better insurance.  It is well documented that Chump's lies are on a scale never before seen.  He is a pathological liar, pure and simple.
        Regarding the corruption endemic to the Chump presidency, from the beginning I have wondered how Chump could attract so many crooks.  The answer is that he has been with crooks his entire adult life. He had shady business dealings with crime figures.  He barely escaped criminal charges himself. Flynn and Gates  have already pleaded guilty.  I am not worried that Manafort will sue me for libel for calling him a crook.  His buddy Broidy is a convicted felon. His son in law's father is a convicted felon.  His daughter and son in law barely escaped criminal charges through some very questionable dealings with the prosecutor. His EPA  administrator illegally used money allocated by the Clean Drinking Water Act to give huge raises to his appointees. He brought his chief of staff down to his level by lying and refusing to apologize when his bald faced lie was discovered. His long time lawyer does very questionable, probably illegal, stuff for Chump.  Chump deals with highly questionable Russian crooks.  He is no doubt complicit in their money laundering.  And this is far from an exhaustive list.
      Comey also is clearly disgusted with Chump's picadillos with a porn star and a playmate, not to mention his bragadoccio about assaulting women.  We all know about Bill Clinton's failings.  I would like to point out to the moral majority that Hillary Clinton is a prime example of  family values.  After suffering the worst public humiliation one could ever imagine, she fought to save her marriage.  Contrast her with Chump.
        I have heard the justifications by evangelicals and the moral majority for being on board with Chump.  Sorry, it is nothing but first class hypocricy.  In the end, I think Comey is exactly right.  Whether Republican or Democrat, all Americans should reject our immoral, amoral president.  Our children and grandchildren should not think that what Chump says or does is okay.
         One last thing, how did we get here from where we were from 2009 to 2017?  Please correct me if I'm wrong, but there was not a single scandal during the entire eight years of the Obama presidency.  His appointments were top rate both with regard to ability and integrity. He personified morality and family values.  Hopefully we will get back to that place sooner rather than later.  Take care all.


Al’s Blog - Pompeo 3

In the United States of America, government appointees swear an oath of office to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” 
The oath is to the Constitution, not to one’s immediate supervisor in the executive branch and certainly not to the president personally. The FBI’s own website contains a useful essay written by FBI Academy legal instructor Jonathan Rudd about the significance of the oath of office. 
“It is significant,” he writes, “that we take an oath to support and defend the Constitution and not an individual leader, ruler, office, or entity ... a government based on individuals — who are inconsistent, fallible, and often prone to error — too easily leads to tyranny on the one extreme or anarchy on the other.”
That is the foundation of the rule of law in this and other countries, and to expect officials to do anything else would be fundamentally toxic to the endurance of the American republic.
The concept of a Loyalty Oath is the loyalty to an organization, institution, or state for which one is a member or participant. Similarly, it is not a pledge or oath of allegiance but more of a legal document a person signs and is legally bound to.  Mike Pompeo has signed such an oath or he would not have been appointed to the Trump Cabinet.  If the interests of the United States of America diverge from the personal interests of the President, we must be confident of that the loyalty of the Secretary of State is with the Constitution!

Donald Trump has disrespected the Senate and the American People by making Mike Pompeo the de facto Secretary of State before the Senate had confirmed him.  This action is another example of the way Trump bullies his way around anything he sees, as an obstruction of his will.  

If the Senate panel could not agree to his appointment before Trump’s action, it is even more important that they not succumb to it now, or forever be remembered as the Trump Toadies Committee!  The crisis that put Pompeo in North Korea was one of Trump’s own making.  He fired his Secretary of State, and he permitted the meeting with the North Korean leader.  Everything about the affair has been of Trump’s making.  For once Senators, vote your conscience.  Don’t take the easy way out!  If you didn’t trust Pompeo last week, this week’s development should make you even more leery.

Hearings are scheduled to resume on Monday!